As a nation we have a job to do: Gillard
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard says overestimating the threat of inside attacks in Afghanistan poses a greater strategic threat than the attacks themselves.
Ms Gillard made the statement on Wednesday while updating the Parliament on the mission in Afghanistan.
She used the address to say that while the transition to Afghan security remained on track, it was not without its challenges.
"In Afghanistan and in Uruzgan, we see progress, but of course it is not perfect," Ms Gillard said.
"We know that as Afghan forces increasingly take the lead throughout 2013, the Taliban will seek to test them.
"We will stand firm. As a nation we have a job to do; it is difficult and dangerous and we are determined to complete it.
"Not to make things perfect, but to ensure that Afghanistan will never again be what it was in 2001, a place where terrorists prepared to attack us."
On the issue of insider attacks, which have claimed the lives of seven Australian soldiers, Ms Gillard said they posed a "threat to our mission".
She outlined some of the steps being taken to protect ISAF troops from green-on-blue attacks, including analysing the nature of the attacks to better understand the motivations behind them, a review of force protection measures and more vigorous vetting of Afghan soldiers.
"We know it would be a strategic mistake to overestimate the enemy's strengths or achievements. To see an adversary's hand where it may not exist only enhances the propaganda value of an attack.
"The greater strategic threat of insider attacks comes not from the attacks themselves, but from the risk that we respond to them wrongly.
"The best evidence that we will prevail against the threat from insider attacks is this - we have not allowed it to disrupt our training and operations with the 4th Brigade.
"Every day, our troops and police, diplomats and development advisers get on with the job.
"I saw them during my most recent visit to Kabul and Tarin Kot ... and I can tell this House their courage will not fail."
Two British soldiers were killed in a green-on-blue attack on Tuesday night (AEST).
Ms Gillard said an international framework for supporting Afghanistan had been determined, adding Australia would play an active role in planning over the coming year.
Australia will form part of a NATO-led mission after 2014 helping to train Afghan security forces, as well as contributing $250 million by 2015-16 to development assistance.
The Prime Minister also said Australia would consider a limited Special Forces presence in Afghanistan post-2014 "in the right circumstances".
"Beyond 2014, Australia will still have a national interest in denying international terrorism a safe haven in Afghanistan," she said.
"It will still be in our national interests to remain part of the broad international effort to support Afghanistan - and to ensure the Afghan Government remains an active partner."
Ms Gillard said Afghan soldiers were increasingly taking the lead on security.
By the middle of next year the Afghan National Security Force will have lead responsibility for security across the whole country, Ms Gillard said.